Fix a Slow Mac App Store

On August 9, 2011, in News, by admin

It’s unclear why, but the Mac App Store is running a lot slower in OS X Lion for some users, including myself. By slow I mean you’ll encounter nearly constant beachballs as you click from app to app, with the absolute worst offender being the main category sections.

I’m assuming there is an underlying bug or issue with the App Store backend, so a true fix will probably come from Apple to resolve this, but in the meantime I’ve found a couple troubleshooting tips that help to varying extents: deleting caches, and changing a security setting.

Delete Mac App Store Caches
I’ve had some success with deleting the caches, but over time things slow down again. Try this first because it’s the safest method.

Quit the Mac App Store
From the Mac desktop, hit Command+Shift+G and enter:

Delete everything in this folder
Relaunch the Mac App Store



Turn Off Certificate Revocation List in Keychain Access

Warning: this is more of a workaround than a fix, and it creates a potential security risk by disabling the systems revocation list, use at your own risk and read all steps before proceeding:

  • Quit the Mac App Store
  • Launch Keychain Access (use Spotlight or look in Applications > Utilities)
  • From the Keychain Access menu, select “Preferences” and then click on the “Certificates” tab
  • Change “Certificate Revocation List (CRL)” to “Off”
  • Quit Keychain Access
  • Relaunch the Mac App Store

Things should be a lot faster now, but because of the security risk it’s recommended to then go back and change the setting after you have relaunched the Mac App Store. There are mixed reports on if the fix actually sticks around with this method, but for security reasons it is highly recommended:

  • Keep the Mac App Store is still open
  • Open Keychain Access again, get back to the “Certificates” tab
  • Set “Certificate Revocation List (CRL)” back to “Best Attempt”
  • Quit Keychain Access

This second tip comes from MacStories, which I came across when reading @Viticci’s review of the new Core i5 MacBook Air. He also complained of the slowness of the App Store within Lion, and he’s not in the USA which shows this isn’t just a local server issue either.

Initially when I ran into the App Stores sluggishness and beach balling, I assumed the Mac App Store was just swamped with more users from the Lion switch and downloading process. Now that time has passed and things are still slow, there’s obviously something else going on here, so let’s hope Apple can resolve it soon. The speed issues are negatively impacting the App Store experience, and when everything else in Lion is so fast, it feels very out of place.



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